The shop owner had argued that he was a cake artist, and that the First Amendment overrides Colorado's anti-discrimination law, thus allowing him to refuse to whip up a custom wedding cake. That solution would've been eminently sensible since the court has never held that commercial businesses have a constitutional right to discriminate against a certain class of customers.
The petition stated that Phillips faced a stark choice: "Either use your talents to create expression that conflicts with your religious beliefs about marriage, or suffer punishment under Colorado's public accommodation law". In prior cases, Gorsuch has embraced an expansive view of religious rights.
The two men married in MA but wanted to celebrate their nuptials with friends in Colorado. "Masterpiece does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally", the court said.
Southwest Florida LGBT activist Stephanie Burns said she will be watching the Supreme Court case closely.
Mullins described being denied service as offensive and dehumanizing. The state law now states that businesses open to the public may not deny service to customers based on their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission had issued a cease and desist order against Phillips.
Travis Weber, attorney and director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said in a statement Monday that he was hopeful the high court will side with the baker.
The ACLU is representing Mullins and Craig in the case.
The baker cited his religious beliefs in the refusal.
The case exemplifies the tension between upholding religious freedom rights and protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination. We are all at risk when government is able to punish citizens like Jack just because it doesn't like how he exercises his artistic freedom.
"I have friends who are gay, that would be ridiculous", he said.
The Colorado case could settle challenges from at least a half-dozen other artists in the wedding industry who are challenging laws in other states requiring them to produce work for same-sex ceremonies.
According to Roger Parloff at the New Yorker, which has a helpful rundown of the case, legal experts are unsure of how the Supreme Court will rule. Two years later, the court sidestepped a similar case concerning Christian nonprofit organizations. Gorsuch has so far been one of the more conservative members of the high court.